Metro Detroit becoming part of national focus as COVID-19 outbreak hot spot

Posted at 5:07 AM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 05:32:30-04

(WXYZ) — Detroit and Wayne County continue to be a national focus in the COVID-19 outbreak, with Detroit having the third highest number of cases in the country.

Detroit was discussed heavily Sunday night during a last-minute COVID-19 task force briefing.

President Trump said he's working well with Governor Whitmer, with 300 ventilators on the way for Michigan.

New data was unveiled during the briefing, with the task force identifying metro Detroit as an outbreak hot spot.

"So, this is the Detroit area, it's Oakland and Detroit," said Dr. Deborah Birx of the task force. "We also then track mortality, gives us insight into how many clients in ICU need care."

Last week, Henry Ford announced a new clinical trial for the drug hydrochloroquine to see if it's a viable treatment for COVID-19. During the briefing, Vice President Mike Pence detailed a conversation with Whitmer on that study.

"They'll be tracking formal the president's urging, I assured her we are more than prepared to make hydrochloroquine broadly available to pharmacies and doctor's offices across the Detroit area as they deem appropriate," Pence said.

The vice president said he also spoke with Mayor Duggan about the 15-minute test for COVID-19. The 150 first responders who used the test over the weekend are expected to be back at work Monday.

With Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties seeing the greatest number of cases, limited supply of ventilators and personal protective gear for health workers continues to be an obstacle in the fight against the spread.

Secretary of Veteran Affairs Robert Wilkie spoke about his agency's plan to help Michigan.

"We will be providing the people of Michigan with access to hospital beds in both Ann Arbor and in Detroit," Wilkie said. "We've also provided a pharmaceutical trailer to be used by the Governor of Michigan at Cobo Hall to support the citizens of Michigan who will be coming into that facility for medical care."

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